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The Foundation of the Welfare State
 

The Foundation of the Welfare State

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    The Foundation of the Welfare State The Foundation of the Welfare State Document Transcript

    • The Foundation of the Welfare State The position at the start of the 20th century In 1900 there was no welfare state in Britain. This meant that the state did not accept any responsibility for the care of individual citizens. The old Victorian ideas of laissez-faire and self-help were still in force. There was no unemployment benefit, sick pay or old age pensions. Everyone had to pay to visit the doctor and the dentist. As a result, the health of the poor suffered badly. They could not help themselves and the state would not help them. The only alternative was the workhouse, which remained the very last resort for the poor. Why did the Liberal government lay the foundations of the welfare state? The Liberal party won a landslide election victory in December 1905. They introduced a programme of social reform, which laid the foundations of the welfare state. This meant that the government accepted responsibility for the lives of its citizens. The main people responsible were: David Lloyd George, H. H. Asquith, Chancellor of the Prime Minister, 1908-16. Exchequer, 1908-15 Key factors The Liberal government’s social programme was prompted by many factors: 1. The evidence of social investigations - such as those by Seebohm Rowntree (York, 1898) and Charles Booth (London, 1891-1903). These reports showed the widespread extent of poverty. They proved that, in most cases, poverty was caused by factors such as unemployment, low pay, high rent, sickness and old age. Drinking and gambling were generally symptoms rather than causes of poverty. Seebohm Rowntree Charles Booth Booth's poverty map for east London, 1889. Towards the end of the nineteenth century Charles Booth - a businessman concerned about the poor - produced a series of maps. Each was colour-coded for social class using data gathered by visiting, literally, every street in London. Red and gold defined the middle- and upper-class areas, whereas the very worst areas were marked in black - RW ORIGINS OFof these areas were labelled 'Lowest class, vicious, semi-criminal.' the inhabitants WELFARE STATE
    • 2. The Boer war (1899-1902) - More than one third of those who volunteered to fight were medically unfit to serve. This alarmed the government since it affected the defence of the country. 3. Sickness — which was undermining the industrial output of the country and making it inefficient. It was feared that Britain would fall behind her rivals, especially Germany. 4. The influence of the Fabians — a small but influential group of thinkers who believed in gradual social change. 5. Fear of the Labour party — formed in 1900 was seen as a threat to the Liberals as it appealed directly to the working class. Sydney and Beatrice Kier Hardie, first Webb and George Labour MP and its Bernard Shaw, first leader. In founder members of 1906, Labour had the Fabian Society 29 MPs The table in figure 3 below shows the main reforms. These reforms may be criticised on the grounds that: (a) They did not go far enough in many ways. (b) They could be described as mean (for example, the old age pensions). However, they are very important because they marked the end of laissez-faire and the start of the welfare state. How the Liberals laid the foundations of the welfare state. Group helped Year Details of the Acts Children 1906 Local Education authorities were allowed to provide free school meals for poor children. These powers were not made compulsory until 1914. 1907 Medical inspections were introduced in schools. These compulsory health checks diagnosed TB, rickets and other serious illnesses, which might otherwise might not have been detected. Local authorities could provide free medical care for children. 1908 The Children’s Act made it illegal to sell tobacco or alcohol in unsealed containers to children under the age of 16. Other parts of the act dealt with the child offenders. Old people 1908 The first old age pensions were introduced for people over the age of 70 whose income was less than £21 per year. Single people received 5 shillings (25 p) and married couples were given 7 shillings 6 pence (37.5 p) each week. RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • Workers 1906 The Workmen’s Compensation Act extended the 1897 Act of that name to include all workers. Employers were required to compensate workers who were injured at work. Victims of certain industrial diseases were also given the right to compensation. 1911 The National Insurance Act (part 1) applied to all workers earning less than £160 per year. Each week the worker paid 4d (old pence), their employers 3d and the state 2d. In return the worker received sick pay of 10 shillings (50p) per week for 26 weeks, followed by disablement pay of 5 shillings (25p) per week; free treatment and medicines and maternity benefit. These benefits only applied to the worker not to his family. Part 2 dealt with unemployment. Figure 3. What was the standard of health between the wars? How the economy affected health between the wars British servicemen returning from the wars had been promised ‘homes fit for heroes’ by David Lloyd George (prime minister, 1916- 22). Addison’s Housing Act of 1919 provided a subsidy to build council houses. This was increased by the Labour government’s Wheatley’s Housing Act, 1924. However, these Acts did not meet the huge demand for cheap housing after the First World War. The First World War rocked the world economy. After a short boom, there was a depression (1920-22), which was marked by high unemployment, and government cuts. Even worse was to come. The Wall Street crash of 1929 marked the start of the great depression, which lasted most of the 1930s. Unemployment in Britain reached a peak of2.8 million in 1932. Health suffered badly in areas of highest unemployment. The scale of the economic problems was completely new and successive governments struggled to deal with the situation. How government responded to the social and economic problems between the wars Between the two world wars, a series of governments responded to the country’s social and economic problems in different ways: 1. The Ministry of Health was set up in 1918 by the Coalition government after the devastating epidemic of Spanish influenza. 2. The Conservative government introduced pensions for widows and orphans (1925) and reduced the age for old age pensions to 65 for men and 60 for women (1926). 3. Unemployment benefit was reduced as part of the government spending cuts in response to a severe financial crisis, which split the Labour party in 1931. 4. The means test was introduced to limit unemployment benefit to the very needy in 1931 (introduced by the National Government). RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • 5. Local authorities were allowed to give free or cheap milk to school children (National Government, 1934). Question — How effective do you think these measures were in meeting the demands of the poor during the depression? Unemployed workers organised a march from Jarrow in the north east of England to London in 1936 to present a petition to Parliament demanding employment. RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • How was the welfare state planned? Sir William Beveridge chaired a government committee on the welfare system. The Beveridge Report, published in 1942, was the blueprint for the welfare state, which was introduced by the Labour government after the war. Beveridge said that there were ‘five giants’ that blocked progress: WANT DISEASE SQUALOR IGNORANCE IDLENESS His report suggested ways of overcoming all these obstacles. His solution to ‘want’ (poverty) and ‘disease’ was an insurance scheme, which would run like this: Who paid into the scheme? What were the benefits of the scheme? All working people would make a single A free National Health Service. weekly payment Benefits for sickness, disability, unemployment, The employers and old age. The state Child allowances. The state would care for its citizens ‘from the cradle to the grave’. A popular report The Beveridge Report was popular with the people as it captured the spirit of the time. It was not implemented in wartime but everything changed in July 1945 when the Labour party won a landslide election victory. The new government, led by Clement Attlee, was committed to introducing the Beveridge Report, Clement Attlee Labour Prime Minister 1945-1951 Aneurin Bevan first Minister of Health 1945-1950 13-year-old Sylvia Diggory became the first NHS patient in July 1948 RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • How was the National Health Service set up in 1948? The most difficult part of setting up the welfare state was introducing the National Health Service (the NHS). This was the job of Aneurin Bevan, the Minister of Health, who had a very forceful personality. Under the scheme, the National Health Service offered a complete range of free medical services. These included: 1. visits to the doctors, specialists and dentists 2. eye tests, glasses and dentures 3. medicines and vaccinations 4. the services of midwives and child welfare clinics 5. ambulances 6. hospital treatment of all kinds Hospitals were to be nationalised (taken over by the state) and run by area health boards. The NHS was paid for out of taxes and from the new National Insurance Scheme. How did Bevan overcome the opposition to the NHS? The doctors Many doctors opposed the introduction of the NHS. They preferred the old way of being paid fees by their patients. They did not like the idea of working for the government. A large number of doctors even threatened to boycott the scheme (refuse to operate it). Bevan managed to win the doctors over by offering to pay them on the basis of the number of their patients. In this way, they felt that they were receiving fees rather than being given a government salary. In the end, 90% of them joined the scheme when it started on 5July 1948. The problems of success The NHS was a great success, although there were long waiting lists for the various services. The scheme was to prove much more expensive than had ever been imagined. As early as 1951, payments were introduced towards the cost of glasses and dentures. Bevan resigned over this issue. Despite these problems, the NHS remains a triumph for Bevan and the Labour Government. For the first time, good quality medical care was available free of charge to all the people of Britain. Question — Why did many doctors object to the introduction of the NHS? How did Bevan overcome their objections? RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE
    • The Growth of the Welfare State What is the Welfare State? 1. What do we mean by ‘from the cradle to the grave?’ The Origins of the Welfare State: 1906-1914 2. What was Medical treatment like at the start of the 20th century before the Welfare State had been developed? 3. Who were the main members of the Liberal government of 1906? 4. Why did they want to do something to improve the health of the people? 5. What laws did they pass to help build the Welfare State? The Welfare State between the Wars: 1918-1939 6. How was the welfare state expanded between the Wars? 7. In what ways was its growth hindered by the economic crisis of the 1930s? 8. What was Medical Treatment like for many families between the wars? The setting up of the NHS: 1942-1948 9. What is the NHS? 10. What was the Beveridge Report? 11. Who was responsible for setting the NHS up? 12. Who opposed the NHS and why did they do it? 13. How has the NHS changed and does it have a future? RW ORIGINS OF WELFARE STATE